By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Miller v. Patrick

Media Nation’s purpose for being is not to track the career of WRKO talk-show host Scott Allen Miller. But following last week’s dust-up between the two of us (I wrongly accused him of claiming that Boston taxpayers had picked up the bill for refurbishing the Kenmore Square Citgo sign; he wrongly claimed that taxpayers were getting stuck with the electric bill), it’s only fair that I point out his role in a minor but interesting state political story.

If you read today’s Boston Globe, you’ll learn (if you hadn’t already seen it elsewhere) that Deval Patrick has a disconcerting habit of not voting in local elections in Milton, where he lives. Globe reporter Andrea Estes credits the Boston Herald with having broken the story yesterday. Dave Wedge’s Herald story from yesterday notes that Patrick’s voting record had “sparked criticism” from Miller.

In fact, Miller was the first to dig up evidence of Patrick’s lackadaisical attitude toward voting, reporting on his blog that he’d obtained Patrick’s voting records after filing a request under the state’s public-records law (click here and here).

A big deal? No. But not a bad little hit on a candidate who’s built his entire appeal around the notion of re-engagement with civic life.

Update: Citizen Kane notes that Miller is highly selective when it comes to non-voting by gubernatorial candidates. Rosebud.

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  1. Rick in Duxbury

    I think it bears repetition. We’ve achieved SOMETHING when an African-American candidate is known not for his ethnicity but his dissembling and is comfortable in accepting support from a “527” which hides membership. Personally, I would not belong to an organization whose entire membership hid their identities. Bit of irony, eh?

  2. Charles Foster Kane

    Unlke Media Nation, one of the purposes of my blog’s being is to track local radio and conservative blogs. Miller’s point might have been stronger had he pulled the voting records of Mihos and Healey. He did not, and, as the Boston Herald notes, it turns out Healey didn’t vote in the 1996 election either. Miller, of course, criticizes Patrick for failing to vote in 1996. My conclusion? Miller has a big axe to grind and is guilty of either incomplete research or supressing evidence.

  3. D. R. Tucker

    It’s just one more reason why it’s so hard for some people to “put their cynicism down” when it comes to D. P.

  4. Scott Allen Miller

    CFK, et al:Unlike Devoid Patrick, I don’t recall Kerry Healey repeating the mantra of “asking people who’ve checked out to check back in” at every campaign stop. It’s hypocritical to throw that message around when a candidate checks out a lot himself. Secondly, Healey is not campaigning on the issue of property tax reduction through increased local aid which is directly related to these Prop 2-1/2 override votes that he skipped. Finally, unlike Healey, Patrick has a pattern of not voting in both local and state/general elections that spanned from 1996 until 2003. Perfect voting attendance should not be expected of any candidate but a pattern of indifference is alarming to me. Tell ya what, CFK. I’ll be objective in my blogging and broadcasting when your purpose becomes to objectively track blogs other than those whose politics you disagree with. Deal or no deal?danThanks for noticing this slight by the Globe. As much as the Globe dislikes the Herald, they like me (and the other New Media) even less, and I’m proud of that. As I wrote on my blog, a Globe reporter whose identity I am protecting told me they have had this information since last year and didn’t consider it newsworthy. Isn’t it fairly routine for the news media to report the voting habits of all candidates? If you have noticed, I have corrected the record (on the air and your blog) about who paid for the Citgo sign’s electricity.

  5. Charles Foster Kane

    Scott:The issue isn’t objectivity, it is credibility. You don’t have to be objective, but you do have to be credible. Leaving out 2/3 of the story isn’t credible. I know, I know, you’ve said before you’re not a news program which is fine, but why complain then when newspapers don’t take you seriously? Thanks for admitting you have a big axe to grind and will say whatever it takes to accomplish your ends.

  6. Charles Foster Kane

    One other thing: does anyone know why Patrick didn’t vote in those elections? Scott consults the ouija board and finds that Patrick didn’t vote because of “indifference”. Anyone else want to make some baseless speculations?

  7. Anonymous

    Scott,You may have corrected the record, but it took you almost a week. This more than anything speaks to the heart of the matter – you have a serious credibility problem. In an earlier post you whined that you don’t run a news program. Great. You’re an infotainer. That doesn’t free you from basic journalistic responsibilites like telling the truth and admitting the biases you bring to the table. I realize “new media” has become code for “we won’t admit to being Republicans.” That’s fine. Everybody has political leanings. The issue is that you get all self-righteous about being a watch dog, but only watch the left. Charles Foster Kane never claimed to be impartial. You do. Researching only Deval’s voting record makes you look like just another Republican hack.

  8. Rick in Duxbury

    11:07, at least he uses his name. Whining from “progressives” about Republican hacks is hilarious. The numbers on Beacon Hill are what they are. So even less than 30% is too much to contend with?CFK, objectivity and credibility are in the eye of the beholder. This is a distinction without a difference. Who the hell are you to decide what he talks about? And a “..big axe to grind..”? Do you have any mirrors in your house? My “baseless speculation” is that this whole blog thing has given you delusions of grandeur.

  9. bostonph

    Rick,Can you cite an instance where Deval actively accepted support from a 527? I distinctly heard him agree to repudiate the 527s during the debate. By definition, 527s can’t coordinate with campaigns. If that’s happening, it’s a much bigger issue.Speaking of irony, how is calling yourself “Rick in Duxbury” superior to being anonymous?

  10. Charles Foster Kane

    Gee Rick, I wasn’t saying what Scott could or should talk about. You should know enough to save the strawmen for your front yard to scare off the crows. I’m sure you find Scott highly objective and highly credible. That’s fine. Scott has already admitted he isn’t objective.I freely admit that I have an axe to grind so I’m not sure what you’re driving at. I swing the axe against sloppy reasoning, incomplete research, and downright lies. Scott still doesn’t know why Deval Patrick didn’t vote in those elections and apparently hasn’t bothered to pick up a phone, call Patrick’s campaign, and ask. Instead, he just speculates that Patrick is indifferent.And delusions of grandeur? Hey, I’m not the guy bragging about how great it is that the Globe hates me. All I did was point out that Scott’s case would have been stronger had he gone the extra step and looked at Healey’s and Mihos’s voting records, which would have spared him the embarassment of making such big deal about Patrick not voting in 1996, when Healey did exactly the same thing.

  11. Peter Porcupine

    “Can you cite an instance where Deval actively accepted support from a 527? “Ah, yes, by all means let’s give him credit for his passivity. It will serve him well when Trav and DiMasi take him out under the Arch for a nice talking-to as to exactly what he can veto.”I distinctly heard him agree to repudiate the 527s during the debate.”And has he actually DONE SO yet? Or is that fabled passivity getting in the way of even so trivial a task as formally and publically repudiating a group that he claims doesn’t speak for him?Doesn’t THIS bode well for our future?

  12. Rick in Duxbury

    Bostonph,You bet it’s bigger issue. Correct me if I’m wrong. A major purpose of using 527’s is to circumvent state regs that require naming those “actively accept(ing) support”, i.e. signing one’s ads. Can you say with a straight face that Deval doesn’t know that Warren Tolman, the SEIU and other party activists are funding the anti-Healey “Patriot Majority Fund” ads on TV? (You remember SEIU’s month of anti-Healey hit pieces on the radio recently, right? Nothing like a little class warfare. Works like a charm for Howie Carr.) What’s next, denial into the camera with a shaking index finger?PS, I guess I’ve identified 350 towns I’m NOT from and 25 letters my name doesn’t start with, for whatever that’s worth.

  13. bostonph

    Rick,There’s a big difference between knowing a 527 exists and actively working with them. What is it you think Deval should be doing about 527s that he isn’t? Again, aside from setting up Peter’s very strange “this proves Deval is passive” strawman, I don’t see the problem. Are you really claiming that Healey is the only one in the race being attacked by 527s?I’m willing to bet neither of you have or had any problems with “Veterans for Truth.” Maybe I’m wrong. I’m guessing not.

  14. Scott Allen Miller

    anonymous saidI have NEVER claimed to be impartial or objective and openly claim NOT to be. Where are you coming up with all of this?If I’m a Republican, how did I vote for Gabrieli — the Democrat that I criticized the Healey campaign on 9/14 for attacking — in the Democrat primary? I, like most MA voters, am not enrolled in any party. is it my responsibility to call Deval Patrick to get him to respond to information about himself he already knows? I am NOT a reporter or a journalist. The Boston Globe, on the other hand, sat on this story for a year and would still be sitting on it if I hadn’t put the information out on the internet. As Patrick said in his statement, he often (but not always) voted by absentee ballot in the other elections. On the local issues, though, he simply “checked out” on the instead of “checking in”. That’s not a crime. I freely admit that I don’t vote in local elections because I don’t own property and have plans to buy a home in the town where I live anyway (partly because of the property tax burden, which is only going up). But then again, I’m not running for governor on the platform of property tax relief and getting people “who checked out to check back in” on election day.bostonphBush offered the same tepid rebuke of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that Patrick has for the so-called Patriot Majority. I spoke out against the Swift Boats for lying and distorting the truth, and I’m speaking out against this front for the SEIU and Warren Tolman (look it up) for doing the same thing. John Kerry, where is your outrage at the Swift Boating of Kerry Healey?

  15. bostonph

    Scott,I just watched the Patriot Majority ad. It seemed like your run of the mill political attack ad, about on the same level as those run by the Healey campaign. More importantly, the events the ad describes actually happened. Kerry even apologized for using the state patrol to avoid traffic. The ad may be unfair, but it’s not a complete fabrication.On the other hand, the Swift Boat campaign was a systematic and false attack on John Kerry’s military record and personal integrity. To quote Dan Kennedy “…it’s been proven irrefutably that [the Swifties] lied about their whereabouts when these events occurred, and that the men who actually served with Kerry have stood by their account of his bravery.”I’m not a fan of 527s, but I think it’s a big stretch to talk about the “Swift Boating of Kerry Healey.” I do wish everyone in the campaign would take a stronger stance against 527s, but this seems like a clutching at straws attack on Deval. Kind of like the “o-meters” Kerry Healey has been hauling out. One was sort of funny, two makes you wonder if she hired Bernie and Phyl’s ad agency.

  16. Anonymous

    The MA Dems may have finally organized a circular firing squad with survivors. As screwed up as they are, National Republican black hole now forming looks to be far worse. Wrong place, wrong time for KMH. Too bad. I have met her and she’s the real deal. Won’t matter much though, when people insist on the government they deserve.

  17. Anonymous

    Scotto:Sorry your feelings were hurt. Factr is, you’ve turned your blog and show into a Kerry Healey showcase, while making snarky comments about every other candidate, right down to mocking Grace Ross for being a lesbian.That link on Gabrieli ain’t no endorsement. I’ll agree with you that you’re “NOT a reporter or a journalist” and amend “Republican hack” to just “hack.”

  18. mike_b1

    Scott, according to a Jan. 22, 2006, Boston Globe story, 38% of Mass voters are registered Democrat, 13% Repulican and 49% unenrolled.Thus, you are wrong to say that “most MA voters [are]not enrolled in any party.” The majority may be, but not “most.”Also, many voters stay unenrolled so that they can cross party lines and wreak havoc on the other guy’s primaries. That’s what I do, and I suspect you do the same.

  19. Steve

    Mike -I think Scott is close to being right here (even if 49% wasn’t close enough). The numbers you cite are just the REGISTERED voters. It would be correct to say “most citizens of voting age are not enrolled in any party” (since that would include the unregistered citizens).If this was the wrongest Scott ever was, he’d be doing great. (It ain’t and he’s not, IMHO.)I was unenrolled for a while, not to wreak havoc in the other guy’s primary, but to be able to have the flexibility to vote for who I wanted (and sometimes, they were Republicans). The “wreak havoc” argument is trotted out a lot but I don’t think there’s much evidence to show that it ever works.

  20. Anonymous

    I just stumbled across “Deval Patrick Watch.” Much of the conteent is about how *mean* the devalites are to poor Scott Allen Miller, John DePetro, Howie Carr, etc. And how *brave* scotto is for taking on Deval.Mr Miller is an active contributor. I’m going to upgrade him from “hack” to “world class putz.”

  21. mike_b1

    Scott, that’s not what he wrote, though. He wrote “most MA voters,” which by definition would be registered voters. Logically, there’s no way to know the political tendencies of those who are of voting age but not enrolled, and pragmatically they don’t even count.

  22. Anonymous

    Mike and Steve,It all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is…..I guess the good news is that for the next 4 years, little kids in MA who never hear the word in school will be asking at home what “parse” means…

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